Special Action Report

 

1st Battalion, 5th Marines
1st Provisional Marine Brigade,
In the Field, Korea

9 September 1950

SPECIAL ACTION REPORT
 

1. INTRODUCTION:


Left to right:
Lt Col George Newton, Bn Cmdr 1/5, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade
Maj. John Russell, CO Weapons Co.
Capt John Stevens, CO Able Co.
Capt Ike Fenton, CO Baker Co.
Capt Walter Godenius, CO H&S Co.

Note: Capt. Francis Ivan "Ike" Fenton Jr. later became a Marine Corps colonel.  He died of natural causes on 11 October 1998.

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This report is submitted in accordance with a directive received from the Commanding General, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade and paragraph 11401.2, Marine Corps Manual. The purpose of the actions in which this unit participated during the period of 7 July to 6 September 1950. Missions assigned this Battalion, were as issued by the next higher echelon, the 5th Marines.


2. TASK ORGANIZATION:

Battalion Landing Team: 1st Battalion, 5th Marines
33 Officers 637 Enlisted

Battalion Commander Lt Col. G. R. Newton
H & S Company, Commanding Officer   Capt. W. J. Godenius
TACP – Officer   1st Lt. J. W. Smith
NGF Liaison Officer   Lt. C. O. Grewe, USN
Artillery Liaison Officer   1st Lt J. J. Snyder
Able Company, Commanding Officer   Capt. J. R. Stevens
Baker Company, Commanding Officer   Capt. J. L. Tobin
Weapons Company, Commanding Officer   Maj. J. W. Russell

 At various times, as noted in paragraph 7, elements of the following units were attached, depending on whether the battalion was in assault or reserves.

75mm Recoilless Gun Company, 5th Marines
One Platoon 4.2 Mortar Company, 5th Marines

1st Platoon, Company "A", 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade.

Detachment of Reconnaissance Company, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade.

Detachment of Engineer Company, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade.


3. PRELIMINARY PLANNING

This schedule, as set forth by higher headquarters, required this battalion to be ready in all respects to embark aboard ship at San Diego on 13 July 1950. All organizational equipment was prepared and packed for an amphibious operation. A preferred plan was formulated for an amphibious landing. An alternate plan was drawn up in the eventuality the battalion would be airlifted to its destination. The enemy situation in Korea was confused and very little concrete information was available at battalion level. No Military maps of Korea were available prior to reaching our destination. The battalion carried sufficient water, rations and ammunition in its supply train to last for one days operations.


4. TRAINING AND REHEARSAL:

Prior to embarking aboard ship on 13 July, the battalion conducted three days dry net training and amphibious lectures at the debarkation mock-ups at Camp Joseph H. Pendleton. Approximately one half of the battalion had participated in Demon III on 12 May 1950 at Aliso Beach, near Camp Pendleton. Lectures were held on troop life and training aboard ship. On 17 and 18 July, while APA-45 was at NSD Oakland for repairs, units held instructions in weapons, first aid and tactics and participated in calisthenics ashore. During the period 19 July to 2 August, shipboard training was conducted continuously to include weapons instruction, tactics lectures, calisthenics, amphibious doctrine and debarkation drill. While in bivouac near Changwan, night patrolling was practiced.


5. LOADING AND EMBARKATION:

Upon receipt of the order to be embarked by 13 July, all equipment and supplies of BLT 1/5 were packed for an amphibious operation. Transportation of supplies to San Diego and ship loading continued on a 24 hour schedule until completed. On 13 July, BLT 1/5 entrucked at Camp Joseph H. Pendleton and proceeded to San Diego. Embarkation was completed by 1600, 13 July.


6. MOVEMENT TO AND ARRIVAL AT OBJECTIVE AREA:

The APA 45 sailed from San Diego at 0800, 13 July. On the afternoon of 13 July, in the vicinity of San Clemente Island, the ship developed turbine trouble and turned toward San Francisco, arriving at NSD Oakland on the afternoon of 16 July. Repairs were completed by the afternoon of the 18th. The ship rejoined the convey on the morning of 2 August and arrived at Pusan, Korea at 1800 on 2 August. Personnel debarked at 0500, 3 August, entrucked at 0600 and proceeded to Chiangwan, where the battalion covered the advance of the Brigade and remained in bivouac for three days.


7. DETAILED COMBAT NARRATIVE

BLT 1/5 became a part of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade on 7 July 1950. From 7 July 1950 to 13 July 1950 this unit was packing, training and preparing to board ship.

On 13 July 1950 at approximately 0800, BLT 1/5 commenced entrucking at Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, Oceanside, California and proceeded to the U. S. Naval Station, San Diego, California, going directly aboard the USS Henrico, APA 45. BLT 1/5 was completely loaded at 16oo on 13 July 1950.

On 14 July 1950 at approximately 0900, the APA 45 put to sea and proceeded to the vicinity of San Clemente Island when engine trouble, which developed at approximately 1430, caused the APA 45 to leave the convey and proceed independently to Oakland, California.

The APA 45 put in at Oakland, California at approximately 1900 on Sunday, July 16, 1950. On 17 and 18 July, small unit training was conducted ashore at NSD Oakland while the APA 45 was undergoing repairs.

The ship departed Oakland, California at approximately 1800, 18 July, and while underway, the battalion conducted indoctrination, intelligence lectures on Korea and general and specialized infantry training.

APA 45 joined up with the convey of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, in the early morning of August 2, 1950, and proceeded to Pusan, Korea, arriving at Pusan, Korea at 1800, August 2, 1950.

BLT 1/5 disembarked at Pusan, Korea at approximately 0500 on 3 August, 1950, entrucked at 0600 and proceeded to Ch’angwen, Korea. The battalion disembarked at approximately 1400 on 3 August and took up defense positions approximately one mile west of Ch’angwon astride the Masar-Pusan road with the mission of protecting the movement of the Brigade into the Ch’wangwon area. Later, BLT 3/5 arrived, tied in on the left flank and relieved elements of 1/5 on left of road, and took up defense positions on left front, while this battalion extended their defense to the right front. Two casualties were suffered in "A" Company, BLT 1/5, one by accidental discharge, and the other during challenging procedure.

4 August 1950

The battalion remained in position at Ch’angwon. Continuous patrols were sent out by "A", "B", and H & S Companies to the front and right flank. No enemy were encountered and patrols continued on 24 hour basis.

5 August 1950

The battalion remained in position and continued patrol action. At approximately 2130, "B" Company reported enemy activity to their front and at 2145, "B" Company’s patrol was fired upon and withdrew to friendly front lines. A short fire fight followed without any casualties suffered by "B" Company, and the enemy withdrew at approximately 2200.

6 August 1950

Continuous patrol action by BLT 1/5. No enemy encountered.

7 August 1950

BLT 1/5 entrucked at approximately 1000 and proceeded to the vicinity of ChinDong-ni, arriving at approximately 1230 on the same day. This battalion relieved "G" Company, BLT 3/5. The relief of "G" Company on front lines was completed at approximately 1700. Enemy activity was observed to the battalion front. One casualty suffered in "A" Company due to friendly short artillery round. Friendly supporting fires were placed on enemy to the battalion front. No enemy action was encountered during the night.

8 August 1950

BLT 1/5 departed from ChinDong-ni at approximately 0600 and moved in route column southwest along road towards Chinju, Sachon-Paeden-ni with the mission of following in rear of elements of the 5th RCT, ( U. S. Army), to crossroads at Chinju and Sachon junction and to take the left fork in the road, proceed to high ground to the immediate front and relieve the 1st Battalion, 5th RCT ( U. S. Army ) on position. Upon arrival at the crossroads, this battalion found that the 5th RCT (U.S. Army) had not cleared that point and acting upon Regimental orders moved back approximately one mile and went into defense positions with orders to move out again at 2300. The rear CP was established at approximately 1700. At 2300, BLT 1/5 departed to relieve the 1st Battalion, 5th RCT ( U. S. Army ) on position. The night march included the crossing of approximately 1 mile of rice paddies and a climb to positions on the high ground where the battalion set up defense positions at approximately 0400, 9 August. No opposition was encountered. At 0430 this battalion received an order to attach and seize the high ground to the immediate front as Regimental Objective #1.

At 0600 BLT 1/5 moved out to seize Regimental Objective #1 and advance to the west along ridge line and set up defense positions on Regimental front lines at approximately 0900; no resistance was encountered. At 1200, orders were received to move to road and continue advance toward Paedun-ni. No opposition was encountered and defense positions for the night were set up approximately 1800 with the battalion CP.

10 August 1950

At 0100 the last of the column of BLT 2/5 passed through 1/5., becoming the Brigade Advance Guard. At 0630 the battalion moved out behind the 2nd Battalion with orders to seize the high ground east of Paedun-ni. This battalion was in position at 0900. At 1500, the battalion was ordered to continue the advance toward Paedun-ni, Korea behind the 2nd Battalion. At 1700 our column arrived at Paedun-ni. At 2000, the battalion passed through BLT 2/5 and went into defense positions.

11 August 1950

At 0300, the advance was continued westward towards Kosong, Korea with this battalion following BLT 3/5, with orders to patrol the high ground to the southwest of Kosong. At approximately 1200, BLT 1/5 arrived in Kosong, Korea, patrolled the area assigned with negative results. The column was reformed and departed from Kosong, at approximately 1500, advancing west ward behind BLT 3/5.

12 August 1950

At 0630, BLT 1/5 passed through BLT 3/5 and moved northwest in advance guard formation along the road to Sach’on, Korea, with a detachment of fifteen men commanded by Capt. Kenneth J. Houghton of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade Reconnaissance Company as the point and "B" Company, BLT 1/5, commanded by Captain John L. Tobin, as the advance party. No resistance had been encountered up to this time. 50 enemy abandoned motorcycles with side cars, twenty Russian built Ford jeeps, and numerous quantities of small arms were passed, burned or camouflaged beside the road, all having been abandoned by the enemy as a result of air strikes and rapid movement of the Brigade.

The 1st Battalion was assigned the mission of seizing the town of Sach’on, passing through, and seizing the high ground to the north and west of Sach’on. Units attached to the 1st Battalion at that time were a detachment of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade Reconnaissance Company, 1st Platoon of "A" Company 1st Tank Battalion and detachment of "A" Company.1st Engineer Battalion. The point and 1st platoon of "B" Company was supported by two M-26 tanks, with three tanks of the same type following "B" Company. At approximately 1300 the point and "B" Company were in a valley in the vicinity of the small village of Changeh’an, with high ground to the front, to the left flank, and to the right flank. The point had just entered the village when it observed two enemy taking cover; they were fired upon by the point, whose fire was resultant in precipitating the premature disclosure of enemy positions. The enemy obviously had planned a rear guard action of an ambush type to such an extent that the entire column would be allowed to come within their fields of fire before they commenced firing. The point was immediately fired upon by an enemy machine gun on the high ground to the right flank. "B" Company immediately came under intense automatic weapons fire from the high ground to the front and both flanks.

The point requested the 1st platoon, commanded by 2nd Lt Hugh C. Schryver, Jr. to move forward and assist them in the fire fight. The company commander "B" company, immediately dispatched the 1st platoon to their aid by fire and maneuver, engaging the enemy from positions in the ditch beside the road. The 1st platoon suffered 3 casualties while moving forward to this position.

While the 1st platoon was moving forward to the aid of the point, the company commander "B" company ordered the 2nd platoon, commanded by 1st Lt David S. Taylor, to move forward on the three tanks from the rear of the Company’s column.

This platoon moved forward to the rear of the 1st platoon, deployed on both sides of the road and engaged the enemy from positions in the road ditches with small arms fire.

By this time company headquarters and the 3rd platoon were receiving intense fire from enemy machine guns and other automatic weapons from the high ground to the right flank. The battalion commander directed the forward air controller, 1st Lt James W. Smith, to call down air strike on enemy personnel observed on the right flank. The company commander, "B" company ordered the 3rd platoon, commanded by 2nd Lt David R. Cowling, to cross the rice paddies and seize the high ground to the right flank, as soon as the air strike lifted. The battalion commander experienced difficulty in getting immediate supporting fire due to the fact that the units were in column and had to get into firing positions. The Regimental Commander had been previously notified by the Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, that artillery fire was not available.

While the 3rd platoon was crossing the rice paddies, one rifle platoon and one machine gun section from "A" Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, reported to the Company Commander, "B" Company, for orders. This unit had moved forward upon order of the Battalion Commander. The Battalion Commander was at that time informed by the forward air controller of two planes with five minutes remaining on station prior to returning to the base. The Battalion Commander directed they search for targets forward of friendly troops. This flight immediately located enemy vehicles and personnel in the strike area and used their remaining ordinance and returned to base.

The Company Commander, "B" Company ordered the two squads and the machine gun section from "A" Company to take up positions on the high ground to the right and to the rear of the enemy positions from which "B" company was receiving automatic fire, and the one remaining squad to move to the high ground to the left flank and place flanking fire on the enemy occupying positions on the high ground on the left flank. The two squads and the machine gun section from "A" company succeeded in knocking out the enemy position.

While the 3rd platoon was moving forward to carry out their assignment, intense machine guns and automatic fire was being delivered on the company from the high ground to the left flank. The tanks and personnel on the left side of the road took these positions under fire, the tanks utilizing machine gun and 90mm fire.

When the 3rd platoon of "B" company was near the crest of the high ground, it received exceptionally heavy fire from machine gun positioned to deliver interlacing bands of fire from such well concealed positions that the 3rd platoon was forced to fall back a short distance down the slopes of the high ground. Enemy strength in that area was estimated at approximately 60 in number. In this action one man was killed and 4 were wounded, one of the wounded being Lieutenant Cowling, the platoon leader. The battalion commander directed the company commander of "A" Company, Captain John R. Stevens to seize the high ground to the battalion right flank, thereby protecting the brigade’s flank. The battalion commander, also at that time, ordered Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, commanded by Major John W. Russell to place 81mm mortar fire on the high ground to the left flank.

The 3rd platoon "B" company was ordered to fall back to the high ground where the two squads and the machine gun section from "A" company were in position, and "B" company mortars were ordered to fire on the enemy automatic weapons which the 3rd platoon had been assaulting. A total of 113 rounds, 60mm HE, was delivered on these positions.

The battalion commander, 1st battalion, ordered an air strike on the automatic weapons positions on the high ground to the right flank immediately following "B" company’s mortar fire. The air strike destroyed those positions. While the air strike on the right flank was being delivered, the Battalion Commander, 1st battalion ordered artillery, one battery of which had gone into position, to fire on the enemy positions on the high ground to the left flank. At about 1700 all of the enemy positions had been silenced with the exception of the machine gun positions on the left flank from which "B" company had been receiving fire. An air strike was called which silenced this position.

At about 1730 "B" company was ordered to take up positions on the high ground to the left flank and dig in for the night. "A" company was ordered to occupy the high ground to the right flank and dig in for the night. While "B" company was preparing to move out the battalion commander ordered an air strike on enemy positions while the enemy had once again placed an automatic weapon which was firing on "B" company. "B" company moved out with the 1st platoon in lead, followed by the 2nd platoon, then the remainder of the company. Progress was very slow due to the crossing of rice paddies and sporadic small arms fire.

When "B" company reached the far side of the rice paddies they located approximately fifty empty well prepared and well concealed infantry positions.

The battalion commander received a report from friendly aircraft, of an enemy concentration in the area. He ordered an air strike on the concentration.

Upon reaching the crest of the high ground, the 2nd platoon engaged the enemy of approximately one company strength, and in about 10 minutes secured the high ground in their sector. During this engagement the platoon leader, 1st Lt David S. Taylor observed some of the enemy withdrawing down a ravine on the reverse slope of the high ground. He ordered one squad to proceed down another ravine in an attempt to cut off the enemy’s retreat. This squad succeeded in doing so and in the ensuing action a total of 38 enemy was killed and one wounded enemy officer captured, without any casualties to the squad. Despite all effort to get the enemy officer to Regimental Headquarters for interrogation, he died upon arrival.

"B" company completed its movement onto the high ground and sat up a perimeter of defense. The company had to complete its perimeter of defense under cover of darkness. The 3rd platoon less one squad and with one machine gun section attached were placed on hill 202; 1st platoon with one machine gun section attached, extended down from hill 202 to within 75 yards of the second platoon, which, plus 1 squad from the 3rd platoon and one machine gun section, were placed on the ridge on the company’s right flank.

Total casualties for the day were 13 wounded in action, 3 killed in action, and 2 missing in action.

The battalion commander received orders at approximately 2400 from the regimental commander to form the battalion on the road at 0630 and prepare to entruck for movement of the regiment to another sector to reinforce U. S. Army units. All companies were notified.

At approximately 0400 the following morning, all company commanders alerted their companies and every man was awakened. (As previously directed by the battalion commander). At 0430 "B" company started receiving intense automatic weapons and small arms fire from the right front. "B" Company’s 60mm mortars fired six (6) illuminating shells to the immediate front. The enemy was observed near the right front and was engaged with fire at approximately 0500; enemy strength in that sector was estimated at 60 in number.

At that time 3 flares (2 green and 1 red) went up to "B" Company’s front and the company was immediately attacked on the left flank. The enemy attacking the left flank all appeared to be armed with automatic weapons and attacked from close, well-concealed positions, to which they had moved during the hours of darkness.

They succeeded in over-running the left flank, killing all but one man in the machine gun section and inflicting heavy casualties in the 3rd platoon.

Due to lack of communications and darkness, (the 1st and 3rd platoon’s 536 radios had become inoperative due to mud and water from crossing rice paddies, (and the telephone wires were believed to have been out), it was practically impossible to determine the condition of the 3rd platoon’s position. Two runners were dispatched from the company CP to the 3rd platoon to obtain information, but both were killed before they could get to the platoon. The enemy, upon over-running the machine gun section attached to the 3rd platoon, turned the captured machine guns on the remainder of "B": Company.

The company commander ordered messengers to instruct the remainder of the 3rd platoon, 1st platoon and company headquarters to fall back to the 2nd platoon’s position with the 1st platoon covering the movement by fire.

The company commander requested the battalion commander to place all available 81mm mortar, artillery and 4.2" mortar fire on hill 202 to cover the movement to the 2nd platoon’s position.

The fire support was excellent. The 81mm mortar fire from the 1st battalion, 5th Marines delivered immediate support, with 4.2" mortar and artillery fire getting on shortly the 81mm fire.

It was daylight when the movement to the 2nd platoon’s positions was completed and at that time captured machine gun positions were observed. "B" Company Commander ordered the 3.5" rocket section to fire on them; both guns and enemy crews were destroyed.

By this time the entire company had the enemy under fire and with the assistance of supporting fires were driving the enemy back over hill 202. During the attack the enemy placed intense and effective mortar fire on "B" company’s right flank and right rear.

It was practically impossible to move "B" Company off the high ground by 0630 since the counterattack was still very strong at that time so at approximately 0700 the battalion commander ordered "B" Company to leave the high ground and proceed to the road, ready for prior ordered movement. The company commander "B" company requested all available supporting fires be placed on the enemy prior to and during the movement. All wounded personnel were collected and the company moved in an orderly manner, carrying the wounded off the high ground under covering fire set up by the 1st and 3rd platoons and supporting arms.

The company executive officer, Capt Francis I. Fenton, Jr. directed the column and movement of wounded across the rice paddies while the company commander directed the covering fire for the movement from the rear. When all troops were clear an air strike was called on hill 202 by the regimental air controller.

Total casualties for both days action were, 15 killed in action, 33 wounded in action, and 8 missing in action. There was an estimated 250 enemy killed in both days action.

It is the consensus of opinion of persons involved in the action that the enemy in the area was of battalion strength. It is also apparent that the enemy in this area was the rear guard for the main body.

13 August 1950

At 0900, "B" Company completed its withdrawal, from its position and all casualties were evacuated. At 1000, BLT 1/5 entrucked and proceed to Miryang, Korea in accordance with regimental movement plan. At 1330 BLT 1/5 arrived and disembarked from trucks and went into a tactical assembly area. At 2400 BLT 1/5 began a march to board the LST for further transfer to Masan.

14 August 1950

At 0230, BLT 1/5 embarked aboard LST #24 to proceed to Masan, Korea. At 0600, LST #24 got under way for Masan. At 0930, LST #24 arrived at Masan and troops disembarked and went into an assembly area while awaiting rail transportation to Miryang, Korea. At 1400, BLT 1/5 entrained at Masan and commenced movement by rail to Miryang. At 1730 BLT 1/5 arrived at Miryang and entrucked at 1930 to proceed to bivouac area. The battalion arrived at bivouac area at 2000.

15 August 1950

Remaining in bivouac all day, personnel drew clothing, washed clothes and units were all resupplied on equipment shortages.

16 August 1950

At 1400, the order was received to move to the Naktong River area, west of Yongsan. The 24th Division (U. S. Army) plus the 1st and 2nd battalion of 9th RCT, 2nd Division (U. S. Army) were occupying defensive positions in this area. The Naktong River at this point made a large semi-circular band, at which point elements of the North Korean Army had penetrated to the east side of the river. In order to maintain the Naktong River defense line, it was necessary to drive the enemy from this peninsula on the east side of the river.

Due to the scarcity of transportation, the 5th Marines were shuttled to the front by battalion, the 1st Battalion being the last to leave the Miryang area. The 1st Battalion entrucked at 0515 on 17 August, making the 24 mile trip in shortly over 2 hours and detrucked west of Yongsan at 0730. It than proceeded west in route march with "A" Company as the point followed by "B" Company, command group, Weapons Company, H&S Company, and the supply train.

At 0700, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, had jumped off in the attack to take Brigade objective #1 which consisted of Obong-ni Ridge and the low ground to the west. The attack had been preceded by an air strike and a heavy artillery concentration.

By 1100, the 1st Battalion was being held in reserve, 1000-1200 yards in rear of objective #2, with the battalion CP. At 1330, the order was received to pass through and relieve the 2nd Battalion and to continue the attack to secure objective #1. The Regimental Commander attached the 75mm Recoilless Gun Company and the 1st platoon of "A" Company, 1st Tank Battalion to the 1st Battalion. At this time the 2nd Battalion was in contact with the enemy at the bottom of the slope of Obong-ni Ridge, with "D" Company on the right and "E" Company on the left, extending approximately 1000 yards south of the road. Lt Col. Newton was in the CP with the 2nd Battalion Commander. The 1st Battalion staff moved into the 2nd Battalion CP to operate in conjunction with them until the relief was effected. "B" Company, 1st Battalion proceeded forward along the road to the right of the CP to relieve "D": Company, 2nd Battalion and "A" Company 1st Battalion went forward over OP hill to relieve "E" Company, 2nd Battalion on the left. Weapons Company set up 81mm mortar positions. The relief was completed by 1600 and the attack was continued to secure Obong-ni Ridge before nightfall.

"B" Company went into the attack with the 1st and 2nd platoons in assault, the 2nd on the left, 3rd platoon in support and machine gun platoon under company control delivering supporting fire from positions on the forward slope of OP hill and from the forward slope of the hill on the right of the road. "A" Company had the 1st and 2nd platoons in assault with the 2nd on the left, the 3rd platoon in support and set up on the forward and south slope of OP hill to provide supporting fire. The machine gun platoon was attached to the rifle platoon by sections.

The 1st platoon of "B" Company proceeded across the low ground forward of OP hill and attacked up the draw leading to hill 102. When it was within 100 yards of the top, it was pinned down by fire from hill 109 and then maneuvered to the right to take hill 102 along the spur leading up from the road. This maneuver was successful and hill 102 was secured by the 1st platoon at approximately 1710, although they were then receiving fire from the village on their right rear. Shortly thereafter, the 1st platoon of "A" Company gained the high ground (hill 117) on the right of the company’s zone of action by maneuvering up the draw between hill 117 and 109. However, upon reaching hill 117, they were pinned down by fire from the vicinity of hill 143. The 2nd platoon of "A" Company had proceeded up the draw between hill 117 and hill 143 to secure hill 143, but could not overrun the position due to heavy casualties, including the platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Thomas E. Johnston. The fire directed on the platoon had come from machine guns set up on hill 143 and in the saddle between hill 143 and 117.

By 1725, the 2nd platoon of "B" Company was on hill 109 and the nose running forward of it. They had attained their position by working up the draw between hill 109 and 117 and had assaulted hill 109 from the left (south) side. Their advance had been supported by the machine gun platoon firing over their head from the forward slope of OP hill. In the final assault of the high ground, Captain John L. Tobin, "B" Company Commander, was seriously wounded and Captain Francis I. Fenton, Jr. took command of the company. An all-around defense position was set up with the 1st platoon on the right, 2nd platoon bending around hill 109 on the left, the 3rd platoon in the rear, and the Company CP and 60mm mortars in the rear of hill 109. The machine gun platoon was called forward and attached to the platoons for the defense.

At approximately 1700, Captain John R. Stevens, "A" Company Commander passed his 3rd platoon through his 2nd platoon to continue the attack on hill 143. The 3rd platoon advanced up the draw between hills 117 and 143, but could not emerge into the saddle due to machine gun fire from flanking hillcrests and slopes. The 1st platoon had been forced to withdraw to the forward (east) slope of hill 117 due to heavy casualties and concentrated enemy fire. During the entire afternoon, supporting fire had been called down on hill 117 and 143 and the whole of Obong-ni Ridge. "A" Company continued the attack, but as darkness fell, was not on the high ground in force. The defensive positions set up on the ridge on the night of the 17th consisted of "B" Company extending from the nose on the right of hill 102 to the saddle on the left of hill 109 with "A" Company tying in there and extending along the east slope of hill 117 and on down the spur behind hill 117 to the low ground forward of OP hill.

At 2000, while the battalion was digging in for the night, "B" company sighted four North Korean tanks approaching along the road leading into the battalion position. The rocket section of the anti-tank assault platoon was called up from positions near the CP and went into position on the right of the road by the curve just forward of the CP. The 75mm Recoilless Gun Company was already in position on the spur leading down to the road from OP hill, where they had been supporting the advance of the battalion with direct fire on Obong-ni Ridge. Three M-26 tanks were also called to take positions at the curve in the road just forward of the CP. As the first tank approached point X, it was fired on by a 3.5" rocket from the AT assault platoon and was hit in the right track assembly but continued forward. As it reached point X, it was hit by fire from the 75mm Recoilless Rifle Company, where it was stopped, but continued to fire its guns at the OP. The 2nd tank was hit in the gas tank by a 3.5" rocket from the AT assault platoon as it approached point Y, and ran off the road. The tank commander then opened the turret to fire the top machine gun when a 2.36" white phosphorus rocket from the AT assault platoon ricocheted off of the turret cover and fell into the interior of the tank. As the 3rd tank approached point Y, it was hit by fire from the M-26 tanks and knocked out of action immediately. The M-26 tanks fired on all three enemy tanks until they were completely destroyed. The destruction of the 3 tanks from the time the first shot was fired, took ten minutes, only because the third tank was ten minutes behind the second tank. The fourth tank and accompanying troops never reached the position, being destroyed and dispersed by friendly aircraft well forward of "B" company’s positions. No enemy personnel escaped from the 3 tanks knocked out at point Y.

The plan of night defensive fires set up for the night of the 17th consisted of the 60mm mortars of "B" Company firing into the logical routes of approach forward of the Company. "A" Company’s 60mm mortar section was ineffective due to a direct hit on the section by tree white phosphorus shells. The 81mm mortars were firing into the draws leading into the battalion positions on the west slope of Obong-ni Ridge. 4.2" mortars were registered in the valley forward of Obong-ni Ridge. Artillery was registered in on the west slopes of Obong-ni Ridge, with the bulk of the registrations southwest of hills 113 and 147.

The enemy counterattacked the 1st Battalion positions at approximately 0230 on the morning of the 18th of August, coming down Obong-ni Ridge from the south, moving on both sides of hill 117, isolating the 3rd platoon of "A" Company on the spur running down behind hill 117, and penetrated through the 1st and 2nd platoons of "A" Company an on into "B" Company’s position around both sides of hill 109. Part of the 1st platoon of "A" Company pulled back along the left flank of "B" Company, leaving a gap between hill 109 and 117. "B" Company restored its lines after the initial penetration and was able to drive out or kill all the enemy in their position within 45 minutes, however they continued to receive heavy automatic weapons fire from hill 117 through the night. "A" Company was in such a position that the enemy was on the high ground immediately above them and was able to throw or roll grenades down into their positions. The enemy method of attack was to have one squad rise up and throw grenades and then advance a short distance, firing to their front and flank with automatic weapons. They would then hit the deck and another squad would repeat the same movements. These actions were observed in the light made by 81mm illumination shells. They would not halt their actions when illuminated. The enemy was armed with automatic weapons and had set up at least one 30 caliber US light machine gun. The 2nd machine gun section of "A" company, in firing on the attack, was subjected to heavy grenade and automatic weapons fire in return. One trick of the enemy was to work in close to our machine gun positions, drawing their fire. When our machine gun position was disclosed, it would be fired on by an automatic weapon set up at greater range. "A" Company mortar section, as previously mentioned, was down to 5 men and could not support the company due to lack of accurate information on troop positions. At 0330, one red and one green flare were fired by the enemy, the meaning of which was unknown. The intensity of the attack diminished toward daylight, leaving the enemy in possession of hill 117. "A Company reorganized and at 0700 resumed the attack to secure hill 117. Heavy supporting fire was laid down on hill 117 and 143 and the saddle in between. On squad of "A" Company which had remained with "B" Company throughout the night attacked down the ridge from hill 109 and the 3rd platoon and the remainder of the 1st and 2nd platoons proceeded up the draw between hill 109 and 117. "B" Company furnished supporting fire from their positions on hill 109. The enemy was entrenched in strength on hill 117 and only after a direct hit by a 500 lb. bomb on the east slope of hill 117, which knocked out 4 enemy machine guns, was the 3rd platoon of "A": Company able to reach the top of hill 117. The 3rd platoon then advanced south across the saddle toward hill 143 and was pinned down by fire from the crest. An air strike was called on hill 143 followed by 81mm and 4.2" mortar concentrations. The enemy then withdrew to the west at 0830. "A" Company had secured hills 117 and 143. Supporting fires were continued on hills 147 and 153, ending with an air strike.

Upon securing objective #1, it was apparent that the MLR had been penetrated and the enemy was in full retreat, without arms in numerous cases. They could be seen fleeing beyond brigade objective #2 in large numbers. LtCol. Newton requested the initiative and kept the enemy on the run.

At 1000, the battalion received the order to move south along Obong-ni Ridge and occupy hills 147 and 153. By 1230 this had been accomplished and the lines extended on the forward slope of Obong-ni Ridge from hill 109 to hill 153 and down the spur behind hill 153 to the low ground. The 81mm mortar platoon displaced to positions at the foot of the draw between hills 109 and 117.

By this time, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, had been passed around the right flank
of the 1st Battalion and had secured Brigade Objective No. 2, and was assaulting Brigade Objective No. 3. The 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, had passed around the right flank of the 1st Battalion and had taken up positions in the valley forward of Obong-ni Ridge. Weapons Company, 1st Battalion sent out patrols down the trail toward the village of Obang-ni and on south of hill 153. No enemy was encountered.

When objective No. 1 was secured, "B" Company had 2 Officers and 110 men effective and "A" Company had 4 Officers and 100 men effective. In going over the enemy position, the Battalion, in a very brief inspection counted 18 heavy machine guns, both American and Russian types; 25 light machine guns, 63 rifles and sub-machine guns, both American and Russian types, on 3.5" rocket launcher with 9 rounds, 8 AT rifles and large amounts of ammunition and hand-grenades. 150 enemy dead were found in the area. "A" Company found that the enemy buried many of their dead in the fox holes where they were killed. During the entire operation, all the personnel of H&S Company acted as litter bearers, doing an outstanding job of evacuating the wounded of both front line companies to the battalion aid station minutes after they were hit, carrying water, ammunition and defense materials forward.

"B" Company, in overrunning the enemy positions, found one SCR 300 Radio and one SCR 536 Radio, evidently captured previously by the enemy. The SCR 300 was in perfect working condition and was set on the frequency of the 1st Battalion, indicating that the enemy had been listening in on all conversations of the battalion throughout the attack on objective #1.

An all round defensive position was set up for the night of the 18th of August with "A" and "B" Companies in position as previously mentioned; Weapons Company extended across the low ground on the left flank of "A" Company and the AT assault platoon on the nose of OP hill leading down toward Obonk-ni. H&S Company continued around OP hill, tying in with Regimental H&S Company. The 1st Battalion CP was moved to the draw on the forward slope of OP hill. Protective fire was put out to the front of the rifle companies and trip flares and anti-personnel mines were installed down the valley to the left flank of "A" Company by engineer personnel, who had been sent up to remain with the 1st Battalion for the night. When the flares and anti-personnel mines were retrieved the next morning, 3 mines were found detonated, with pools of blood beside them. No bodies were found.

At daybreak on the 19th of August, "F" Company, 2nd Battalion. 9th RCT (U. S. Army) occupied hill 908 to the south of the 1st Battalion’s position and had sent out patrols to tie in with "A" Company’s left flank by 1000 of that day.

At 1100 on the 19th, the order was received to entruck and proceed to Yongsan and to go into bivouac. The battalion arrived at Yongsan at 1700.

During the engagement, 4 enemy were captured; 3 by "A" Company and 1 by "B" Company. Questioning disclosed that the 1st Battalion had been opposed by elements of the 19th Regiment of the 4th North Korean Division.

It is believed that Obong-ni Ridge was the enemy’s main line of resistance.

19 August 1950

At 0845, BLT 1/5 entrucked and proceeded to the train station at Maryang and embarked on train at 0930 for rail transportation to Changwan, arriving at the debarkation point, 3 miles south west of Changwan at 1400. Troops disembarked at 1430 and went into bivouac.

22 August 1950

Remaining in bivouac area all day, troops resting.

23 August 1950

Remained in bivouac, troops resting, taking showers, and getting pictures taken in the bean patch.

24 August 1950

Remaining in bivouac, troops resting, going swimming and taking showers.

25 August 1950

From 0800 to 1130 BLT 1/5 conducted infantry tactics and weapons training from bivouac area. At 1300 to 1600 weapons instructions and inspections was conducted by all units of BLT 1/5.

26 August 1950

BLT 1/5 remained in bivouac area conducting rifle platoon tactics, 81mm mortar instructions, anti-tank assault instructions from 0800 to 1130 on adjacent terrain. From 1300 to 1600 all units conducted care and cleaning of weapons.

27 August 1950

BLT 1/5 observed holiday routine.

28 August 1950

From 0800 to 1130, BLT 1/5 conducted company problems, 81mm mortar instructions, and anti-tank assault instructions. From 1300 to 16oo conducted weapons inspection, maintenance of equipment and shower details.

29 August 1950

At 0754 a combat patrol consisting of one reinforced rifle platoon from "A" Company, BLT 1/5, was sent out approximately 5000 yards to the right front. The patrol returned at 1235; no enemy encountered. Remainder of BLT conducted platoon problems, with Weapons Company conducting anti-tank assault training and 81mm mortar night firing exercises. From 1400 to 1600, all units of BLT 1/5 conducted practiced marches.

30 August 1950

Infantry training was conducted in an area adjacent to the bivouac area. A patrol of a reinforced platoon size, patrolled the area. No enemy were encountered; nor, was there any evidence of enemy having been in the area. The patrol returned to the bivouac area at 1120, maintenance of equipment and weapons inspection was conducted during the afternoon.

31 August 1950

"A" and "B" Companies conducted training in squad and fire team tactics. Weapons Company trained 3.5" rocket teams in tracking targets and setting up road- blocks. The 81mm mortar platoon rehearsed delivering night defensive fire and conducted training for forward observers. H&S Company, other than those attached to "A’, "B" and Weapons Companies, conducted on the job training.

1 September 1950

The 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, received a warning order at 1000 to standby for immediate movement, on order, to the Hamall sector of the Maktong River sector to reinforce U. S. Army forces. At 1100 orders were received, directing the Battalion, to send out combat patrols to the southwest due to enemy penetration of friendly front lines. Before patrols could be dispatched an order was received, directing the 1st Battalion, to prepare for movement to Miryang to be used as 8th Army reserve for the Naktong River area. At 1630, all units of this command boarded a train in the vicinity of the bivouac area for transportation and proceed to Miryang. The 1st Battalion arrived in Miryang at 1710 and disembarked immediately. Sufficient transportation was not available to transport the 1st Battalion to the assigned assembly area, consequently, the shuttle system was used and all troops were in the bivouac area by 2400.

2 September 1950

At 0230 a warning order was received which directed the 1st Battalion to prepare to move out, by truck, at 0800 and proceed to a forward assembly area and to be prepared for further movement on order. By 0810 the 1st Battalion was entrucked and started the movement to the forward assembly area at 0820.

The 1st Battalion arrived at the forward assembly area at 0940, disembarked and moved into assigned areas. The battalion CP was established. At 1750, while in the assembly area, the 1st Battalion received a warning order, directing the battalion to standby for movement, prior to daylight, to the Yongsan area.

3 September 1950

At 0030, the 1st Battalion received the order commence movement to the Yongsan area by truck to daylight and to be prepared to commence the attack southwest of Yongsan at 0200.

At 0400 the 1st Battalion started the approach march following BLT 2/5 toward U. S. Army’s front line position southwest of Yongsan where BLT 1/5 and 2/5 were to pass through the Army’s defense positions and take up positions at the line of departure with BLT 2/5 on the right, in preparation to attack to the northwest at 0800.

While en-route to the line of departure BLT 2/5 was held up by enemy mortar and small arms fire, thereby, causing a delay of approximately 50 minutes in starting the attack.

At 0800 the 1st Battalion was on line with BLT 2/5 on the right and commenced the attack at 0855 with the mission of seizing the high ground.

The supporting weapons that were attached to the 1st Battalion at that time was the 2nd Platoon of the 75mm Recoilless Gun Company.

Immediately after the attack started "A" and "B" Companies moved out across the rice paddies, with "A" Company on the left, and immediately came under long range small arms fire from the high ground to their direct front, however, the enemy fire was not of sufficient intensity to halt the advance. The Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion directed, 81mm mortar, 4.2" mortar and artillery fire be placed on the battalion objective while the companies were moving across the rice paddies.

At 0925, while crossing the rice paddies, "B" Company started receiving intense automatic weapons fire, which pinned them down and halted the advance. The Battalion Commander directed the forward air controller to call down an air strike on the Battalion objective #1. Air support was immediate and succeeded in destroying the enemy positions from which "B" Company had been receiving fire.

The advance continued with "A" Company moving more slowly due to the mounting intensity of small arms fire coming from the high ground to their left front. The Battalion Commander directed an air strike using Napalm, be placed on the area from which "A" Company was receiving fire. As the air strike lifted the Battalion Commander directed "B" Company to shift its lines to the right to maintain contact with BLT 2/5, for "A" Company to move abreast of "B" Company and for the advance to continue as rapidly as possible.

At 0950 "A" and "B" Companies were tied in and contact had been made with BLT 2/5 and the attack continued. Progress was very slow due to the crossing of 800 yards of rice paddies and constant enemy small arms fire from the 1st Battalion Objective.

At 1015 the 2nd Platoon, "A" Company started receiving heavy automatic weapons fire from the enemy positions to the left front where the air strike using Napalm had been conducted. The Battalion Commander directed the 81mm mortar forward observer to place mortar fire on those positions and directed the Platoon Leader of the 75mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon to place white phosphorus fire on a small village in the direct front of "B" Company from which enemy small arms fire was being delivered on "B" Company’s left flank.

At 1050 enemy heavy machine guns started firing on "A" and "B" Companies from positions on the forward slope of the 1st Battalion Objective. The Battalion Commander directed the 4.2" mortar and the artillery liaison officers to place 4.2" mortar and artillery fire on these positions. At 1055 as the 4.2" mortar and artillery fires lifted the Company commander of "B" Company reported his company was in position to start the assault on the forward slope of the 1st Battalion Objective #1.

At 1105, "A" Company was in position to start the assault and both "A" and "B" Companies commenced the assault on objective #1.

At 1110, "A" Company’s left flank was pinned down by enemy automatic weapons fire from the military crest of objective #1 in "A" Company’s zone of action. 81mm mortar fire was placed on the enemy positions and the assault continued.

At 1115, "B" Company had succeeded in seizing the portion of objective #1 within their zone of action and was receiving enemy machine gun fire from the reverse slope of objective #1. The Battalion Commander directed 81mm mortar be placed on the reverse slope of the objective in "B": Company’s zone of action and that flame throwers be sent to the company commander of "B" company to be used on suitable enemy positions.

At 1205 "A" Company had completed seizing the portion of objective #1 within their zone of action.
At 1215 both "A" and "B" Companies were receiving small arms and automatic weapons fire from the next high ground to the 1st battalion’s direct front. The Battalion Commander directed the forward air controller to run an air strike on that high ground from which "A" and "B: Companies were receiving fire.

While the air strike was being conducted the company commander of "B": Company reported the enemy was leaving the reverse slope of objective #1 and running down the road to the next ridge line. The Battalion Commander directed artillery fire be placed on the enemy and excellent results were achieved.

At 1220 both "A" and "B" Companies requested resupply of machine gun ammunition, grenades, 60mm mortar ammunition, water and additional stretchers to remove the wounded.

Groups of enemy continued to break and run from positions on the reverse slope of objective #1 and artillery fire was continually brought to bear upon them.

At approximately 1350 both "A" and "B" Companies had received all necessary supplies and were ready to move out in the attack of 1st Battalion Objective #2.

At 1415 the 1st Marine Brigade Reconnaissance Company was moved up to the extreme left flank of the 1st Battalion with orders to keep in visual contact with "A" Company’s left flank and to block any enemy movement from the left flank.

At 1445 the Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, directed the forward air controller to call a five minute air strike on the 1st Battalion’s Objective #2 and the artillery liaison officer to deliver a 5 minute artillery preparation immediately following the air strike.

At 1510 "A" and "B’ Companies moved out in the attack of objective #2. There was light and scattered enemy resistance as the advance continued until 1545 when "A" Company started receiving enemy mortar fire on their front lines. An artillery observation plane spotted the enemy position and directed artillery fire which destroyed the position.

At 1605 the company commander of "B" Company reported a large group of enemy running from his zone of action toward the low ground in front of BLT 2/5. The Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion notified BLT 2/5 of the presence of the enemy in their zone of action.

By 1630 both "A" and "B" Companies had seized Battalion Objective #2 and were directed by the Battalion Commander to consolidate their positions and dig in for night defense. The Battalion CP displaced forward and set up.

There was no enemy activity during the night and the 1st Battalion was prepared to continue the attack the following morning at 0800.

4 September 1950

At 0800, "A" and "B" Companies moved out in the attack with the mission of seizing the portion of 5th Marines Objective #1 in the 1st Battalion’s zone of action. BLT 3/5 moved through and relieved BLT 2/5 on the right flank of BLT 1/5.

At 0820 the Company Commander of "B" Company reported the capture of two Russian type T-34 tanks on his Company’s right flank, the tanks were unmanned and in excellent condition.

The advance continued very rapidly meeting no enemy resistance and many small groups of enemy were observed running in a disorganized manor away from the advance elements. In all cases artillery fire was called down which killed and wounded many of them, and a total of 12 prisoners were captured by 1240.

By 1505, "A" and "B" Companies had completed the seizure of 5th Marines Objective #1. The Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, received orders from the Regimental Commander to halt the advance and to remain on Regimental Object #1 until further orders were received.

At 1515 the 1st Battalion was ordered to continue the attack and to seize the high ground. At 1600 the advance elements of the battalion CP moved forward and set up in position. At 1620 enemy activity was sighted on the high ground to "B" Company’s left front. The Battalion Commander directed 81mm mortar fire be placed on the area in which the enemy were observed. At 1630 the 1st Battalion continued the attack. As "B" Company was starting across the rice paddies they were fired upon by enemy automatic weapons from positions on the high ground to their right. "B" Company moved back out of the rice paddies to take cover from the automatic weapons fire, and the Battalion Commander directed an air strike on the enemy position.

At 1710 the Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, requested BLT 3/5 to place supporting fire on the high ground to their direct front, from which "B" Company was receiving enemy machine gun fire.
At 1725 the advance continued and both "A" and "B" Companies completed the capture of the high ground, with further enemy resistance by 1800. There was no enemy activity to the front during the night.

At 2400 heavy caliber enemy fire started falling on the 1st Battalion CP. Results of the mortar fire were one killed and two wounded.

5 September 1950

At 0730 friendly P-51 type aircraft on a non-controlled mission strafed "B" Company’s front lines causing one casualty.

At 0820, "A’ and "B" Companies continued the attack with the mission of seizing the portion of the 5th Marines Objective "A" within the 1st Battalions zone of action. BLT 3/5 was directed to move across the rear of BLT 1/5 and to tie in on "A" Company’s left flank. BLT 1/5 was directed to maintain contact on the right with elements of the 9th Infantry Regiment (U. S. Army). The advance continued very rapidly and unopposed until approximately 0935 when enemy mortar and artillery fire commenced falling on the 1st Battalion front lines from enemy positions on Obong-ni Ridge. The Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, directed artillery and 81mm mortar fire be placed on the enemy positions. At 1025 the company commander of "B" Company reported the presence of one enemy artillery piece in the vicinity of Obong-ni Ridge and many enemy sighted on the ridge. The Battalion Commander directed 81mm mortar and artillery fire be placed on Obong-Ni Ridge. At 1105, "A" and "B" Company had reached the high ground when orders were received to halt the advance and remain in present position until U. S. Army units could tie in on the right flank and 3/5 could tie in on the left flank. At 1130 both "A" and "B" Companies were receiving enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire from Ogong-ni Ridge at frequent intervals during the halt. At 1420 the enemy launched a counter-attack against "B" Company with approximately 300 troops. The counter-attack was launched very rapidly from flanks and well concealed positions. The enemy used large quantities of small arms fire, automatic weapons fire, mortar fire, hand and rifle grenades. At the same time the counter-attack started the Company Commander of "B: Company reported three enemy tanks moving down the road toward "A" Company positions. The Battalion Commander directed 81mm mortar fire be placed to the immediate front of "B" Company’s positions and that the anti-tank assault platoon go forward and take up suitable positions for anti-tank defense. One 3.5" rocket team from "B" Company had expended all their ammunition prior to the arrival of the anti-tank assault platoon, scoring hits and stopping the 1st tank. Prior to the arrival of the anti-tank assault platoon, two Marine M-26 tanks moving up the road were knocked out by the enemy tanks. This all took place in the immediately rear of a U. S. Army tank which had previously been knocked out. Four other M-26 tanks withdrew to positions from which they could fire in the event the enemy tanks continued to move down the road.

The anti-tank assault platoon fired on the three enemy tanks exploding the 2nd and 3rd tanks and making the final kill on the 1st tank. The anti-tank assault platoon withdrew and tied in on "B" company’s left flank.

While the tank action was going on "B" Company, with the aid of the 81mm mortar fire had succeeded in stopping the counter-attack. "B" Company’s casualties during the counter-attack were; 2 killed and 23 wounded.

By 1500, BLT 3/5 had relieved "A" Company and tied in with "B" Company’s left flank. "A" Company, less the 1st and 2nd platoons, one machine gun section and one mortar squad, moved into reserve positions approximately 400 yards to the rear. The remainder of "A" Company was placed on line to reinforce "B" Company. At 1530, U. S. Army units made contact and tied in with "B" Company’s right flank.

At 1600, the Battalion Commander directed the Battalion Executive Officer to assume control while he attended a, Battalion Commanders, conference at the Regimental CP.

At 1725 orders were received to prepare to be relieved on position, under cover of darkness, by elements of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, U. S. Army. For a route march to the vicinity of Yongsan where the 1st Battalion in Regimental order, would be entrucked to Pusan, Korea.

Enemy activity was light throughout the evening until 1855 when "B" Company received machine gun fire from the vicinity of Obong-ni Ridge. 81mm mortar fire was directed on the enemy machine gun positions and immediately large caliber enemy counter mortar fire was being delivered on the 81mm mortar positions. Artillery fire was directed on the enemy mortar positions.

6 September 1950

At 0030 elements of "K" Company, 23rd Infantry Regiment, U. S., Army, affected relief of the 1st Battalion on position. The 1st Battalion moved out in route march following BLT 3/5 where the Battalion CP displaced and joined the column at 0230. The route march continued toward Yongsan, arriving in the vicinity of Yongsan at 0430. The 1st Battalion halted on the road west of Yongsan to await transportation to Pusan.

At 0730 all Companies moved into adjacent assembly area and the Battalion CP was established. At 1430 the 1st serial of trucks departed and proceeded to Pusan, arriving and going into assembly area at the Port-of-Pusan at 1810. At 1830 the 2nd serial departed and proceeded to Pusan. Arriving and joining the remainder of the 1st Battalion in the assembly at the Port-of-Pusan at 2130.


8. ENEMY TACTICS, ORGANIZATION, STRENGTH, DEPLOYMENT, PROBABLE ORDER OF BATTLE AND EQUIPMENT

a. ENEMY TACTICS

The tactics used by the North Koreans in the action of 3, 4 and 5 September resembled that of a retreating enemy fighting a delaying action. Small units, such as companies, platoons and squads were well camouflaged and concealed themselves in strategic positions on commanding terrain.

In the defense the enemy dug in on ridge lines some 10 to 15 yards down the reverse slopes. Their foxholes and positions were well prepared, being 15 to 20 feet apart. In order to have concealment from air observation the enemy used scrub pines camouflage. The enemy constructed parapets around the mounds of the graves in the ridges and by placing 4 or 5 men in this revetment with automatic weapons, established fortified positions or strong points.

In the attack the enemy consistently tried to attain high commanding terrain. In frontal attacks the enemy tried to approach our lines as close as possible and employ hand grenades.

Some of the enemy tactics either in attack or defense tended to be fanatical, such as the Japanese. When enemy attacks were repelled and the enemy driven from his defense position, he would give ground, surrender, or retreat in a very disorganized manner.

b. ORGANIZATION

The enemy was organized in groups of 50 to 150 men. These units would be grouped together in a small area at strategic points, and not tied in with adjacent units. In this group there would be 1 or 2, 50 caliber guns, sniper and automatic weapons. From POW reports it was learned that each group was lead by a professional soldier and contained several other professionals, but that the bulk was conscripts and draftees who were not well trained and wanted to surrender but that their seniors threatened them with death. Moral was very low and the POW’s stated that they were not properly fed. These POW’s stated that the enemy was well supplied in arms and ammunition.

c. STRENGTH

Estimated total enemy strength opposing the 1st Battalion during this action was 1800 to 3000. Estimated enemy dead in 1st Battalion zone of action were from 500 to 600. POW’s taken by 1st Battalion 28.

d. DEPLOYMENT

The enemy was deployed on strategic ridge lines. They would occupy the forward slopes and positions on the flanks and in huts or small villages, if present, but when heavy fire was brought down on them they would withdraw either to their well prepared positions on the reverse slopes or on the military crest. When driven from their reverse slope positions the enemy would withdraw in disorganized manner using low ground to move to the rear of another ridge. The retreating enemy would not take position of the next ridge line or strong point. Their position would be occupied by fresh troops and the withdrawing enemy would proceed further to the rear. It was noted in their withdrawal that some enemy troops would take cover in rice patties and houses and revert to sniping activity.

e. ENEMY ORDER OF BATTLE

(1) The enemy encountered on 12 August in a rear guard action at Sach’on were elements of the 83rd Motorized Regiment of the North Korean 6th Infantry Division. The strength of the enemy encountered by BLT 1/5 was estimated to be one battalion of 300 to 400 men. The enemy was deployed on the high ground overlooking the road and town of Changoh’on. The enemy used machine guns, small arms, small mortars and grenades.

(2) On 17 August the enemy encountered defending Obank-ni Ridge, was the 18th Regiment, Commanded by Chang Ky Dok, of the North Korean 4th Infantry Division. The estimated strength of the 18th Regiment was 1000 men. The enemy was deployed with three Battalions on line. All three Battalions were placed to repel the attack on Obong-ni Ridge. The enemy was well equipped with automatic weapons, plus rifles and anti-tank guns. They Also delivered sporadic artillery and mortar fire.

(3) Prisoners were captured from units of the 4th Infantry Division, 9th Infantry Division and the 16th Mechanized Brigade. The actual units which opposed the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines were the 2nd Battalion of the Independent Regiment of the 16th Mechanized Brigade, the 4th Battalion of the 16th Regiment of the 4th Division and the 1st Batttalion of the 17th Regiment of the 9th Division.

f. EQUIPMENT

The individual enemy soldier was equipped with automatic
weapons, sniper rifles or a 57 caliber (clip of 5 gas operated or single shot bolt action) anti-tank rifle and hand grenades. The 1st Battalion captured 2-122mm howitzers, 4-120 mm mortars, 4-82mm mortars, 5-76mm howitzers and 5- 47mm anti-tank guns. One T34/85 tank was captured intact by the 1st Battalion. Three T34/85 tanks were destroyed by 1st Battalion.


9. ESTIMATED RESULTS OF THE OPERATION

a. Sach’on Area against enemies 83rd Motorized Regiment.

(1) This battalion was in contact with the enemy on 13 August 1950 when ordered to return to Chin Dong-ni. On the 12th the enemy had fought a rear guard action with a force of an estimated battalion strength, and had counter-attacked at dawn on the 13th without gaining their objective, which was to force the withdrawal of "B" Company from the high ground on the Brigade’s left flank. The enemy was attempting to delay the advance of the Brigade while their main body moved towards the Sacdh’on-Chinju area. The enemy suffered severe casualties in this action and it is estimated that over one-half of the rear guard was killed. The Brigade could have moved towards Sach’on without too much opposition, especially in view of the breaking off of the attack by the enemy at dawn.

(2) It is believed that the operation resulted in the destruction of the mobility of the 83rd Motorized Regiment. The enemy was so badly cut up that it is believed that complete reorganization with replacements was necessary to make the 83rd Motorized Regiment an effective fighting unit.

b. Naktong River-Youngsan Sector

(1) This battalion was in contact with the enemy on Obongi-ni Ridge on the 17th and 18 of August 1950. The 18th Regiment of the 4th Division was defeated and retired towards the Naktong River in confusion. Leaving behind the majority of his small arms, supporting arms and motor transport. The capture of Obong-ni Ridge resulted in the penetration of the main line of resistance and the eventual collapse of the enemy bridgehead on the Naktong River.


10. Comments and Recommendations of the Commander:

a. The enemy and his tactics.

(1) The enemy has defended hills with concentrations up to regimental strength. The enemy has defended roads with anti-tank guns, but not with personnel in any great strength. Villages have been defended by a few automatic weapons, but no great number of personnel. Enemy mortar and artillery fire has been accurate, but of small intensity when compared to ours. Enemy mortars and artillery have been previously registered in on objectives both to the front and rear of their positions. On entering these areas, our forces find themselves in comparatively heavy and accurate mortar and artillery fire of relatively short duration. The enemy fights for a hill, but so far, nothing else. He attacks at night rather than in daylight.

(2) The enemy makes excellent use of camouflage. He uses cover to a maximum at times, and then again, takes no advantage of it.

(3) The enemy has attacked at night rather than in daylight, breaking off his attack as soon as daylight comes, and making maximum use of hand grenades and his short range automatic weapons. He is neither as tenacious nor fanatical as the Japanese, but does press home his advantages until separated from leaders. Attacks start suddenly and finish just as suddenly. He either does not like daylight close combat, or realizes the shortcomings of his poor marksmanship at ranges above 200 yards and his inadequate supporting arms. He obviously does not relish close support aircraft as used by the Marine Corps.

b. Recommendations

(1) The enemy, in the opinion of the Battalion Commander, has displayed poor coordination among higher commanders. Therefore, friendly unified attacks, once the enemy’s main line of resistance has broken, will result in many prisoners and the complete collapse of the enemy.

(2) Napalm bombs, 500 and 1000 lbs. bombs with instantaneous fuses, large numbers of hand and rifle grenades and flame throwers are weapons that can be effectively used against the enemy because of his apparent herd instincts. Overhead machine gun fire in the attack should be utilized to a maximum degree because of the suitability of the terrain. Engineer demolition detachments should be used to aid in the preparation of defense positions at night. Barbed wire of all types should be used in the night defense position.

(3) As yet, the exposed flanks of this Battalion have not been subjected to attack by day. The high ground held by the battalion has been attacked during the hours of darkness. The CP has been tied closely in with front line units during the night had has not suffered attacks as reported by Army units.

(4) 75mm Recoilless Rifles, 3.5" Rocket Launchers and M-26 Tanks have proven successful against the Russian built T-34 medium tanks. Each of the above weapons can immobilize a tank, but the 3.5" Rocket Launcher and the M-26 Tank can kill them, where the 75mm RR Gun is not quite as effective.

(5) The 75mm RR Gun has proven to be a good supporting weapon during the period when supporting fires are lifted and before friendly forces can gain the tops of ridges or hills.

(6) Tanks and 75mm RRs can be effectively employed in an approach march formation, and should be placed well forward in the advance party.


11. Annex ABLE: Communications

Due to the method of employment of BLT 1/5, the command post did not function in the ordinary manner. This can be attributed to the inaccurate maps, which necessitated conducting operations from the battalion observation post, where the terrain on which the action was taking placed and the troop movement could be directly observed. As a consequence, the Battalion Commander and the Liaison Officers, operating on the OP, conducted the majority of the operations with the remainder of the Staff assisting, where possible, from the command post. The communication system was therefore altered to afford direct communication from the battalion observation post to both higher and lower echelons, with monitoring units at the command post.


12. Unit Station List, 7 July 1950 to 6 September 1950
 

NAME RANK SERVICE NO. MOS DUTIES
NEWTON, George R. LtCol. 05786 0302 Battalion Commander
OLSON, Merlin R. Major 08163 0302 Battalion Ex-Officer
S-1
FRITZ, Martin F. 2ndLt. 028390 0130 Bn. Adj. & S-1
RABE, Leroy D. 2ndLt. 032059 0105 Bn. Pers. Classification
& Assignment Off. &
RO; Custodian Reg-
istered Pubs; 4-Aug-
5 Sep OinC Bn Rear
Echelon.
S-2
HANSEN, Dean B. 2nd Lt. 049626 0302 Battalion S-2
S-3
SMITH, Loren R. 1st Lt. 040624 0302 7-July to 8-Aug &
13 Aug to 5 Sep
Bn S-3; 9-12 Aug
Sk
YOUNG, James R. 2nd Lt. 049647 0302 13-Jul to 8-Aug &
14-Aug to 5 Sep.
Ass’t S-3;
9-12 Aug, S-3
5 Sep, WIA, Evac.
S-4
MARROW, Clark D. Capt. 018480 0302 7-Jul to 3-Sep, Bn S4;
3 Sep, WIA, Evac.
DAVIS, Warren A. WO 042207 3010 Bn Supply Officer
H&S Co.
GODENIUS, Walter E.G. Capt. 027175 4960 Commanding Officer
PETER, William J. Jr. 1st Lt. 033632 2502 Bn. Comm. Officer
NELSON, Bentlley G. Lt. (jg)(USN) 523633   Bn. Surgeon
SMITH, James W. 1st Lt. 037073 7302 FAC
GREWE, Carl O. Lt. (USN) 202185   NGLO
ALLEN, Merle W. 2nd Lt. 049793 0301 NG Spotter;
3-5 Sep, Bn S-4
ABLE COMPANY
STEVENS, John R. Capt. 014231 0302 Commanding Officer
EUBANKS, Fred F. Jr. 1st Lt. 036407 0302 Exec. Officer
SEBILIAN, Robert C. 1st Lt. 049292 0302 7 July – 17 August,
PltLdr. 1st Platoon,
17 Aug, WIA, Evac.
20 Aug. Hospitalized,
20 Aug. Detached.
JOHNSTON, Thomas H. 2nd Lt. 049718 0302 7 Jul – 18 Aug.
Platoon Leader,
2nd Platoon.
18 August 1950, KIA
FOX, George C. 1st Lt. 047459 0302 7 Jul – 3 Sept.
Platoon Leader,
3rd Platoon,
3 Sept. 1950, WIA
Evac.
MUETZEL, Francis W. 2nd Lt. 049792 0302 7 Jul-17 Aug. Platoon
Leader, Weapons
Platoon.
18 Aug-6 Sept.
Platoon Leader
2nd Platoon.
BLANK, Howard G. 2nd Lt. 043444 0302 30 Aug – 6 Sep,
60mm Mortar
Section Leader.
BAKER COMPANY
TOBIN, John L. Capt. 011730 0302 7 July-17 August,
Commanding Officer
17 Aug. WIA, Evac.
17-24 Aug. Hospt;
24 Aug. Detached
FENTON, Francis I. Jr. Capt. 015170 0302 7 July – 17 August,
Exec. Officer;
17 Aug – 6 Sept.
Commanding Officer
SCHRYVER, Hugh C. Jr. 2nd Lt. 049849 0302 Platoon Leader,
1st Platoon
TAYLOR, David. S. 1st Lt. 048493 0302 Platoon Leader,
2nd Platoon, 17 Aug.
WIA, Evac.
COWLING, David R. 2nd Lt. 049804 0302 7 July – 12 August
Platoon Leader,
12 Aug. WIA, Evac.
12-15 Aug. Hospt.
15 Aug. Detached
HALL, Edward C. Jr. 2nd Lt. 049867 0302 7 July – 12 August,
Platoon Leader
Machine Gun Plat.
12 Aug. WIA, Evac.
12-15 Aug. Hospt.
15 Aug. Detached
CLEMENT, Robert "A" WO 048589 0310 7 Aug. to 14 Aug.
60MM Mortar Sect.
Leader; 14 August
Sick, Evac.
14-15 Aug. Hospt.
15 Aug. Detached.
MORRIS, Edward C. 2nd Lt. 050033 0302 20 Aug-6 September
Platoon Leader,
3rd Platoon
CHRISTOLOS, Nick 2nd Lt. 049920 0302 20 Aug – 6 September
60mm Mortar Sec Ldr.
WEAPONS COMPANY
RUSSELL, John W. Major 07098_ 0302 Commanding Officer
SOLLOM, Almond H. Capt. 024382 0302 Exec. Officer
ALDERMAN, Harry L. 2nd Lt. 049788 0302 81mm Mortar
Platoon Leader
TULEY, Ralph J. 2nd Lt. 049907 0302 Asst. 81mm Mortar
Platoon Leader
BROWN, Dale L. 2nd Lt. 050020 0302 Anti-Tank Assualt
Platoon Leader

 

 

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